An event management company blacklisted by the National Games Organising Committee (NGOC) and facing a vigilance inquiry will be involved in producing the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) to be held in Delhi in October.
Wizcraft International, which is among the five event management companies handling the CWG ceremonies, has been accused by the Vigilance Department, Jharkhand of duping the state of Rs 2.5 crore.
The company had the contract for producing the opening and closing ceremonies for the Jharkhand National Games that have not been held till date and been postponed a number of times.
Wizcraft was paid the amount in question as an advance. According to a senior vigilance officer, the company later "managed to get a clause inserted in the contract, which allowed it to retain the sum in case of postponement or rescheduling beyond June 30, 2009.”
Besides Wizcraft, three NGOC officials - SM Hashmi, MK Pathak and PC Mishra - have been named in the initial inquiry report. The contract was valued at Rs 8,65,14,728 and it is alleged that the NGOC officials violated Jharkhand financial rules when they made the advance payment.
When contacted, Hashmi, the NGOC organising secretary and secretary of the Jharkhand Olympic Association, said, “negotiations for return of the advance are going on”.
Hashmi had written a letter to Simon Caszo, vice-president, business development, Wizcraft International, on October 20, 2009 seeking return of the advance within 72 hours, failing which “the NGOC will be compelled to file a case against the company and put up the matter before the executive board of the NGOC to blacklist the company”.
Caszo said he had no idea about any vigilance inquiry against his company and claimed Wizcraft still has the contract.
“My lawyer would know it because he is looking after all the documentation. Moreover the contract for the Ranchi National Games is still with our company and I have got the copy of it with me,” Caszo added.
Incidentally, the NGOC has cancelled Wizcraft's contract and given it to Cineyug. Thereafter, it blacklisted Wizcraft.
The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, it seems, is not aware of all this. This body and the NGOC both fall under the purview of the Indian Olympic Association.
Lalit Bhanot, secretary of the Organising Committee admitted that Wizcraft will be
producing the opening and closing ceremonies for the mega event.
However, Bhanot said he is ignorant about the vigilance inquiry against Wizcraft and it's blacklisting by the Organising Committee of the 34th National Games.
“I am not aware of any such thing,” he added.